BY LOIS MAHARG
In a few hours I’ll teach my first NAMI class, Family-to-Family. Teaching is not new to me. For 15 years I worked as an ESL instructor, helping adult immigrants and refugees learn English. What IS new for me is the course content: family and caregiver-related aspects of mental health conditions and recovery. New, too, is the experience of teaching as a volunteer.
As a volunteer teacher I expect I’ll experience some of the same satisfactions I did when I was working in an ESL classroom: providing helpful information to appreciative learners, interacting with people in the classroom, and learning interesting things during class discussions.
Volunteers, I’ve realized, are the heart of NAMI Washtenaw. Not only do we teach classes but we also lead support groups, make presentations, chair committees, serve as board members, write grant proposals, edit the newsletter . . . and the list goes on.
If you support NAMI’s mission — improving the lives of people with mental health conditions and their families — there are many ways to contribute using special skills you have. Right now we’re looking for a volunteer with legal training and a volunteer with experience in accounting. If you happen to have those skills and a little spare time, come on down! We’d love to meet you.
Whatever skills you have, though, NAMI Washtenaw will recognize them and put them to good use.
There’s also room at NAMI Washtenaw to improve skills you already have or develop new ones. I’m qualified to teach Family-to-Family not because of my background in education but rather because I’ve cared for a family member with a mental health condition, taken the Family-to-Family course myself, and undergone a 3-day training to become a certified facilitator.
At NAMI Washtenaw the range of volunteer activities is broad, from posting on social media and writing newsletter articles to leading support groups and serving on the board. If you care about mental health, there’s a place for you here.
Check us out! Contact Patricia Doyle at 313-510-9333 or sign up on our website by clicking right here.